Yoo-hoo! Is anybody out there? Come out, come out, wherever you are!
I feel like the only person in America who’s not on vacation. And it’s beginning to bother me.
The streets of town are silent — day and night. Like lemmings, my neighbors have fled to the sea.
The malls are deserted. Even the supermarket is eerily empty. Doesn’t anyone eat in August?
Forget what T.S. Eliot said about April — August is the cruelest month for those of us who are left behind to cope with a world gone fishing. Everyone I know is at the shore. Or the mountains. Or “abroad,” as they like to say in those wonderful old movies.
When I call people I need to reach, secretaries from temporary agencies answer indifferently to report that Ms. L. or Mr. H. is due back in September. Lucky them.
Our plumber is in California.
Our mailman dropped off the last batch of bills in late July and took off for Montreal.
The wizard who is supposed to be fixing my watch bolted his door shut on July 29, assuming that time itself would wait for him, now that August was arriving.
I find myself cranky and mean-spirited because mankind is out to lunch, and I’m not. I know it’s August — I know that nothing much gets done in this eighth month of the year — but I want company in my misery at being left behind.
Each of our daughters has some August vacation plans. August, they tell me, is a drag.
My own sister, the traitor, went to Switzerland, and now she’s off to the shore. Here’s a lady whose work schedule allows her other vacation options through the year, but you can bet Ruthie doesn’t pass up August as the time to desert her only sister.
Mind you, I do have some August plans. On some of the dog days this month, I’ll be “vacationing” in our den, the coolest spot in the house.
Other times, like it or not, my oasis will be the kitchen sink, where I seem to be forever catching watermelon seeds before they disappear into our garbage disposal, which doesn’t, alas, accept them.
High excitement, no?
So for a little while, I’ll have to go on feeling like the kid who didn’t get picked for the team. Like lettuce left wilting, like the last rose of summer, I’ll stay “shoulder at the wheel” while the rest of the civilized world is on holiday.
But on one of these days when you August vacationers come home to find your lawns scorched and your house-plants begging for mercy, my husband and I will be waiting to greet you to share our small triumphs, too.
We got into the hottest movie of the summer without waiting in line.
Ditto for the restaurant where Saturday night reservations are usually required weeks in advance.
And at home, we’ve been gorging on Jersey tomatoes and corn, and unspeakable quantities of mocha fudge ice cream.
Whoever said an August stay-at-home vacation didn’t have its perks? ••